He's here!!!!!!!!

One minute I was working hard and completely exhausted and the next moment the pain was gone and I was in utter bliss with my baby boy and husband. We don't have the actual footage of Levi being born but Tristan was smart enough to grab his phone shortly after. It's the most beautiful film I have ever seen in my life. Each time I re-live that moment I cry.  I can't even explain the way I felt. Tristan and I still  relive the moment over and over again  My midwife said it seemed like Tristan and I just shot out of the universe. I don't think I could have described it better.  We were in a whole new world and tripping on the beauty of the miracle of life.  We were both so emotional. Just blubbering. It was perfect. He was perfect. We were so happy. We were a family!

The end is near...

Near the end(the last few hours) I pushed for a long while on the corner of the bed, then headed to the birth stool for a while(which like I said before..I hated), then  back to the corner of the bed and then a minute and a half or so before Levi was born I got onto the bed in a  right side lying position. It was all hands on deck.  My mom was no longer videoing..she was holding up my left leg.  Tristan was up by my head. Nina and Julia were down below. These last few minutes were intense and I barley remember them.  And the next thing I knew he was here! The moment I had worked 40+ hours for!

A few labor pictures

Here are a few pictures from labor...the only modest ones I had.  After I got out of the shower, was checked and then began to push I never put any clothes back on.  I was just in my robe off and on.  I would get hot and take it off, then I would get cold and want it back on.  All that to say it was hard to have as many appropriate pictures and videos for the internet!  The last picture is of Julia using the Robozo on me!

A few Birth Videos

Here are some videos from my time pushing! I have lots more that are really awesome and interesting but not as modest. But this gives a small picture of what I was like during pushing.

2 steps forward, 1 step back

After Julia checked me, the next time a contraction came on I got to push. I don't remember much about what that was like at first or what position I pushed in at first. I pushed in SOOOO many different positions I just can'remember what I did when.

Basically for the next 10+ hours I pushed off and on.  My contractions came inconsistently the whole time!! At least once I took a 30 minute nap because I would sometimes go that long without having a contraction. It was difficult because a contraction would come, would be super strong, I would work really hard, make some good progress and then by the time the next contraction came it seemed like all my hard work was undone. Two steps forward, one step back.  

I spent a lot of time during the pushing stage walking back and forth upstairs and up and down the stairs trying to get the contractions to come on more. We used the breast pump too a lot to up my oxytocin. I would even walk through the contractions if Julia advised me to. It was such an active, exhausting time. And as Levi would get further down the birth canal the walking got more difficult.  There was just so much pressure with that big head of his.  I would slowly(VERY slowly) waddle back and forth trying as hard as I could to walk as fast as I could.  It was exhausting.

I remember drinking tons of water, apple juice, and gatorade, and taking spoonfulls of agave to keep me going. I can still remember how amazing a straight spoonful of agave tasted at that time, and what a great kick it would give me! 

I pushed with one leg up on the bed, on the birth stool(which I hated...it increased the "oh my gosh I'm going to rip in two sensation" by 10,000!), on the stairs, and maybe even on the toilet? BUT, my favorite position and the one I made the most progress with was a VERY low squat while holding on to the corner of the bed. I pushed in this position the most at the end. 

When the sun rose on the 23rd I remember thinking that it was a new day and we must be getting close to the end. I was wrong, but I didn't know that. I was just so thankful for a new day and that the Lord had made the sun to rise and set.  It was beautiful streaming in the stairwell window while Tristan and I were walking up and down the stairs.

Speaking of Tristan, I can't even begin to describe what a huge blessing he was to me during this whole thing.  He was right with me the whole time.  He provided just the right type and amount of encouragement. He was so supportive and calm and some how managed to be so strong yet very gentle. He was everything I needed.  He would walk up and down the stairs with me when I was utterly exhausted and put a pad underneath me when I pushed and clean up all my mess ...if you know what I mean!  It was the most romantic experience with him to date(I'm being totally serious..no sarcasm here!). I've never felt so appropriately loved by him.  It was such a bonding experience. I cry just thinking about it.  I love that man. He is a REAL man!  He's MY man!  Working with him during labor is something I am already looking forward to with the next one.  I'm so thankful we took our Bradley birth class...I think the education he received helped immensely. He really knew how to coach me to get the work done! I couldn't have done what I did without him.    

One point in labor(maybe around 10am on the 23rd), I had my arms around Julia's neck and was swaying my hips back and forth and she asked me if there was anything bothering me, or anything I thought might be hindering my progress. I told her I couldn't think of anything..really...at first..I couldn't. But, as I thought about it for a moment I realized that I REALLY wanted to have this baby at home and I didn't want to go to the hospital...and after being in labor SO long I was worried it was going to come to that.  So I told Julia my fear. She listened well..and I am sure replied with some encouraging words but I don't remember.  And now speaking of Julia.....

She was perfect...her and her assistant Nina were just what I needed. I am so thankful God brought me to her. She was calm, quietly did her job, and helped me to do mine in just the right way.  She guided me in what I needed to do and her and Nina were wonderful cheerleaders. Everytime we checked Levi's heart rate it was just right and she always got excited about that.  She would help me get my noises "down low" so they were helping me and giving me strength rather than letting them get high and out of control (uhhh uhhh uhh..ohh.ohh ohh verses ah..ahh..ahh). I was making my sounds purposeful.
 One thing she did was tell me to "reach down and touch your babies head." Which I did and it was quite an amazing feeling so EVERY time I got discouraged I would reach down and touch his head. It was awesome when I would feel his head getting lower and lower...closer and closer. Julia gave me lots of homeopathic pills of all kids during labor too..which I thought was so cool.  She also applied pressure with warm washcloths towards the end when Levi's head was crowning and I LOVED that. She also helped me to know where and how to push...it was painful when she did that but it REALLY helped.  She was so committed to helping Tristan and I safely and joyfully bring our baby into the world at home. She pulled out so many tricks it seemed.  The craziest of them all being her Robozo Scarf/wrap.  It was this huge piece of fabric she placed under my hips. She then stood over me and held the fabric and rotated my hips back and forth VERY forcefully.  This maneuver was SOO painful but really helped bring on strong contractions.

Pushing seemed really painful to me especially from crowning to the end. I had heard people say it's like a ring of fire...NOPE...not for me! It felt more like I was ripping apart..ripping in two. Or as my midwife described one of her births it was like, "giving birth to a dry brick." One time in my sheer exhaustion I said,"I don't think I am ever doing this again."

 I remember being surprised by the pain of it all yet at the same time it was pain with purpose and even though there were times I felt like quitting and even said "I can't do this." When I said I couldn't do it my birth team(Julia, Nina, Tristan, and my mom) quickly replied "yes you can, you ARE doing it." I loved hearing, "you are doing it." Because sure enough I was.  I was determined and the Lord was giving me strength.I just kept praising Him that I was still at home and that Levi was doing so great through it all.

I also want to mention my mom in this whole process. I loved having her there. Her mere presence helped me so much.  She kind of stayed in the background most of the time but just knowing she was there helped me to know everything was going to be ok...I mean..she's my momma and she is the most patient and calm person I have ever met. I hope she can be around for all my births.

Ok..Back to pushing.  You know that saying, "the sun is rise, the sun is set and we is still in Texas yet." Well for me it was, "The sun is rise(and rise again) and we is still a laboring yet."  Ha ha. I was exhausted but towards the last few hours things really picked up. We were really getting somewhere.


It's time to PUUUUUSH!!!!!!!!

So where we left off last time was the evening of the 22nd and things were starting to change.

 I remember going downstairs with Tristan to go out for a walk and seeing my family sitting on the couch watching something on a laptop. I remember thinking how badly I wanted to be with them but also how extremely tired I was. I did not want to go for a walk..AGAIN! But we did and it was good. I think this walk was starting to get pretty uncomfortable. Tristan may remember better than I what I was like.
 My contractions were getting stronger and closer together.  We never really timed them..so I don't know numbers. We were just taking them as they came and trying and praying for them to come more.

  When we got back from the walk I think Nina arrived and then Julia shortly after.  I think Nina could tell things were changing.As Tristan says often, it's not how often the contractions are coming ..it's all about the emotional sign posts.

  Amniotic fluid was still being produced and flowing here and there and was still looking good and Levi(who we really didn't know was Levi yet) had a super heart rate.

 So From about maybe 6pm to 1am or so I was mostly laboring on the toilet.... I think...just bracing myself, moving swaying, and moaning!

 At around 10ish I hit the 24hour mark since my water had broke so Julia gave me an IM antibiotic shot to prevent infection...I think is was rocephin?

 Somewhere after 10pm Julia told Tristan to turn up the hot water heater. Some how she knew I was about to go into transition and would need a hot shower for a long time.  It would have been great to be in a birthing pool I'm sure at this time but since my water had broken early that wasn't really an option..so the hot shower had to do.  I'm not sure what time I got in the shower but I feel like I was in there FOREVER.  For awhile I was standing and for a while I was on my hands and knees ...always rocking my pelvis and moaning during the contractions. I was so tired..I may have even laid down at some point...I don't remember. I just remember that at some point it was REALLY getting hard and I started singing my song that I sing when I think I can't do whatever I am doing any longer...when I'm in the thick of it...when life is hard..and my only comfort is knowing one day I will be home! The song is called Come For Me by Charlie Hall and I would sing it crying almost every day on the way to work when I worked on 4E at Spohn South in Corpus Christi.  It's often the cry of my heart when things are hard and gives me GREAT hope!!!
You can listen to it here: http://youtu.be/moNYIAF0VRk

And here is a video of me in the shower. Don't worry, you can't see anything. You just hear me moaning and  hear Tristan narrating!

I remember VERY clearly that when I got out of the shower Julia said she wanted to check me! WOAH..I was shocked...and excited but mostly just bracing myself for a let down..I mean..this was only my first exam and all...and even though my water had been broke over 24hours I still didn't want to get my hopes up. But to my surprise I was 10 centimeters dilated and could now push. I remember thinking..WOW..it's getting close..I thought for sure I only had 5 hours left max....boy was I wrong!!!